I don't know about the rest of y'all, but the beginning of school may be most stressful few days of my year. Every year.
And I've spent the last few days seriously stressed because of that.
I want everyone to feel welcome, to feel appreciated, and (most importantly) arrive home safely.
A few days ago, I saw this on Pinterest:
and I cannot help but hearken back to it in the moments of anxiety.
You see, it reminds me of my grandmother and my aunt.
My granny, who will turn 91 this November, is not in the best of health. She fell and broke her hip a few years ago which left her unable to walk.
Given that she was already experiencing dementia, this was just another blow. So after this fall, she was/is bedridden. It wasn't long before she was unable to talk. My aunt (who also has a bit of age on her) now cares for her. This includes feeding her via a feeding tube several times daily, changing her diapers, and turning her often so she doesn't acquire bed sores. And she often does this alone.
As I've spent the last couple of days in the mandatory meetings, the thought of how I really needed to be in my room working has crossed my mind. I think about the delays they're causing me-the borders that need to encompass the bulletin boards, the parent calls I need to make, the organization of supplies, and many other things. And then I realize my problems are microscopic.
My grandmother would trade places with me in a hearbeat. (Okay, truthfully, she probably wouldn't because she always put my needs ahead of hers.) To be able to identify people, to carry on conversations, to care for yourself without the complete dependence on others are things I take for granted.
And then I remember that quote.
So, in the midst of my rambling, I ask you to embrace everything this year. The good, the bad, the painful. And please know I understand what I'm asking-Sunday I got a head cold right before the most important week. Yesterday I was gone 14 hours from my home. Today I had a migraine from the stress of everything. And even though those things were time consuming, I can't help but think of how inconsequential the majority of things I get upset about. And just taking the time to be aware that most of us are blessed beyond belief helps center my heart. (Well, that and some effective migraine medicine.)
A while back one of my favorite authors (Jill Conner Browne) included a portion of one woman's reflections in her book. Thanks to Kay the entirety is on her blog. I would like to share it with you:
Let Me Hold You While I May
By Mary Jean Irion
The day is over; now I will
sleep. It has been a normal sort of day, common like a rock along the path.
Nothing about it would make one exclaim over it, as one might do with a shell or
a glistening piece of quartz. It was just a rock, lying there along my way. But
now, knowing that it is about to go from me forever, I hold it in my hand
curiously, turning it this way and that, marking its shape and texture, weighing
it on my palm. What was it really, this normal day?
It was routine,
mostly....washing, ironing, a trip to the store, meals, dishes--the common
denominators of women;s days.
It was pleasant here and there...a letter
from an old friend, my husband's telephone call for no reason, a back fence chat
with my neighbor, half an hour with a good book, some loud laughs with the
children at dinner time.
It was irritating now and then....a sticky ocean
of spilled maple syrup, mealtime with one greedy child and one finicky one, the
arrival of a bill unexpectedly high, a persistent salesman's theft of fifteen
It was deeply joyous at times... the whole house
glorified with the strains of the new "Greensleeves" record; our unliterary
twelve-year-old's first book (begun today, to be finished tomorrow) with its
dedication--to wonderof wonders--his parents; our eight-year-old and her friend
playing dress-up, painted and perfumed, scarved and veiled, clattering through
the kitchen in spike heels and courtesaned innocense.
It was sobering and
frightening in some ways...Mom's waning health and increasing discouragement;
the big blow up after dinner about homework and learning to accept
responsibility, and the guilt that followed my hasty words; The vague, huge
uncertainties that draped themselves over us, cobweb-like, with the ten o'clock
news from a tense and shadowed world.
It was blessed with love
throughout...in a pig-shaped breadboard made and presented to me by my son; in
the wave of feeling as I watched our little daughter sleeping in soft moonlight,
her long lashes shadowing her cheek; in an hour alone with my husband at the end
Just a normal day. A normal day! It is a jewel! In time of war,
in peril of death, people have dug their hands and faces into the earth and
remembered this. In time of sickness and pain, people have buried their faces in
pillows and wept for this. In time of loneliness and separation, people have
stretched themselves taut and waited for this. In time of hunger, homelessness,
want, people have raised bony hands to the skies and stayed alive for
Normal Day, let me be aware of the treasure you are. Let me not
pass you by in quest of some rare and perfect tomorrow. Let me hold you while I
may, for it will not always be so. One day I shall dig my nails into the earth,
or bury my face in the pillow, or stretch myself taut, or raise my hands to the
sky and want more than all the world your return.
As we begin this new school year, please join me in simply being aware of the minute moments that help make up our lives.
And let us see them as the blessings they are.